Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Earth & Honey: Candle and Wax Tarts

These items were sent free for reviewing purposes from Earth & Honey. All opinions my own.

Earth & Honey is an Ohio based indie candle and wax company. Eric contacted me and wanted to send some scents over for me to try out. The wax is 100% soy and the scents seem to be single note fragrance oils. The fragrances come in clamshells for $4 each or candles. I couldn't find any information on the size of candles on the website but I was sent a 5 ounce candle. If this is the "small" size then it is $8, but if it is the "large" size then it is $10. The items came packaged securely and in good condition.

Campfire S'mores is all about the chocolate note. Unfortunately chocolate is not a scent that melts well in this house but I know it will make a nice gift for someone. I love how the wax is layered to look just like s'mores, the white marshmallow, the tan graham crackers and dark chocolate layers. Very cool! 

Forest Meditation was definitely up my scent alley! It is a nicely done oakmoss aroma. Two cubes threw medium-strong in the kitchen and living area. As usual, the 100% soy wax formula can be a bit crumbly and frosted, but I don't mind.

A glass candle in Egyptian Amber was in the box too. The wax is a rich golden honey color and it burns wonderfully. The wick is strong and it made an even wax pool. The scent is a liquid amber musk with a touch of sweetness. The throw is medium-light in the bedroom on my nightstand.

-100% soy for better health
- Simple yet appealing branding
- Nice selection of scents (about 50 on the website) which span multiple scent genres
- Well burning candles
- Affordable prices

- Website could use a bit more information about product (sizes and photos)
- No scent description really, no notes listed
- Not sure if there are any house blends but it didn't look like it

Overall, I think Earth & Honey has nice candles and tarts. I am looking to buy Wild Mint, Tobacco or Sandalwood in a candle. The 5 ounce candle is just right for the bath tub ledge. 

Have you tried Earth & Honey? Are you gearing up for candle season?

Monday, August 20, 2018

Riddles Tea Shoppe: The Auror Tea Society- Summer Manifest

Riddle's Tea Shoppe first became known to me via Jay at The Scented Library. She posted a couple times about the Deatheaters Tea Club quarterly boxes and I kept meaning to try them out. I finally got my stuff together and placed an order for the summer box. That is when I realized that Riddle's Tea Shoppe also had an Auror Tea Society box. I sprang for the Auror one while Jay snagged the Deatheater one. Check out what came in my box down below if you are curious about how the wizard cops take their tea and pop over to Jay's blog today to see what the wild evil baddies enjoy in their afternoon cuppa. Apparently the baddies have a yacht club too.

Jay's blog can be found here. Check out this amazing shot of her Deatheaters Tea Club box that she took.

These boxes release quarterly like I mentioned above. They are a one time pre-order purchase, but I did notice the Etsy store mentioned that changes are coming in August. Not sure what that will be about. The box was $37 plus $7 shipping. The box was said to include two novelty tea items, one large tea pouch, one enamel pin and four additional surprise items.

I quite appreciate the level of detail that went into the making of this box. All items were themed as if you were camping in a forbidden forest with your closest auror buddies. There were two cards, one to set the stage and another that listed the items, buried in the bottom of the box was a sticker that read "Magical Observer" and each item appeared just right to set the mood. It is obvious that this was curated by a true Potterhead.

All the items in the box were hits for me.

A stylish cork trimmed tote emerged from the bottom of the box. I will be using it to usher my planner, books, iPad and materials to and from school.

A colorful postcard with impressive art (I keep looking at the Forbidden Forest lettering thinking I should put on some 3-D glasses to get a full effect) which will soon be hanging on my desk cork-board.

Forbidden Forest Elixir tea sprouted from the box. This rooibos based tea contains rose hips, hibiscus, apple pieces, vanilla, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and forest berries and is decaffeinated which makes it perfect for evening sipping. I love two things about this bag already: the adorable artwork with mushrooms and the fact it is SEALED.  Can I tell you what a pet peeve it is becoming when I order handcrafted items that come in these bags and they aren't even sealed? All they have to do it run a flat iron over it. I have had mushroom cocoa spill everywhere, bath powders dump out and all sorts of messes in my orders because these bags weren't sealed at the top. So thank you Juli and Joe. Thank you.  

The enamel pin is very cute. I spy some spell-o-tape, a broken sad wand and perhaps some Adhaesus' Extra Sticky Wand Glue. This will be fun to put on my classroom cork-board too.

Three bewitching tins came in the box. The tiniest tin features Molly's Miniature Marshmallows from The Auror Junior Scouts that add a mother's touch to any tea time. These are the tiny crunchy dehydrated marshmallows you find in instant hot cocoa pouches and can buy by the jar full in a grocery store. So once this tin is emptied I can happily restock it on my own. I love the tin. 

Two larger tins contain teas. The first up is Shacklebolt S'Mores which is a black tea and oolong tea blend with added cinnamon bark, ginger root, vanilla, gingerbread, cocoa nibs, orange peels and chocolate. It tastes amazing. The black tea is smooth and flavorful. It has a touch of spice and the chocolate gives it more of a wooden tone rather than a hot cocoa vibe. There is a clarity to this tea that makes it taste as if it has been steeped in spring water. A brilliant tea for fall fireside enjoyment. A black spiced tea with a touch of dark woodsy chocolate.

Barty's Bonfire Blend is a father and son tradition and merges black tea with lapsang souchong along with cloves, ginger root, cardamom, caramel and cinnamon bark. Lapsang souchong is a favorite tea blend of mine and this one is fabulous. This version has less pine and a softer smoke. The gentle smokiness is set off nicely by the warmth of the clove which comes in whole buds in the tea. Clove buds make me weak in the knees. The tea has a nice overall tannic mineral quality that makes it a pleasant rustic experience. An apt bonfire blend to be sure. 

I am beyond thrilled with this experience and will be back for more. If the summer box was this good I can only imagine how fabulous the autumn box will be. I am off to read Jay's blog and probably fall in love again with the dark side. 

Have you had any cool Harry Potter box experiences? Please share!

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Nocturne Alchemy: Patchouli Bats

Last summer Nocturne Alchemy released a collection of three Patchouli Bat perfumes. There was Amethystine Bat, Halcyon Bat and Sienna Bat. I bought Halcyon Bat at the time and ended up picking Amethystine Bat in the NAVA Marketplace on Facebook. 

Amethystine Bat- Notes: California Redwood, Japanese Hinoki wood, NA black patchouli absolute, cedar essential oil, VA Cemetery Musk accord.

Inky, almost turpentine laced, patchouli and woods seep from the bottle. I love this gummy resinous darkness. Like black fumes. Perched on the skin, the patchouli starts out much like the aroma from the bottle but a few minutes on the skin and the sweet redwood comes out to mellow the patch with its subtle fruitiness. It moves into airy cedar, black rolling musk and patchouli with just a hint of graveyard soil. It fades into a soft woody patchouli that is quite lovely.

Halcyon Bat- Notes: Vanilla bean, Crystalline, Kobalt, NA black patchouli absolute, cotton candy, sugar, cream soda, Bastet's amber, a drop of Bastet's ice cream and bergamot essential oil.

From the bottle lifts up a fizzy vanilla patchouli that is coated in sweetness. Dripped onto the flesh the sugared patchouli and cotton candy vanilla take on a bubbly buttered rum tone that must be from the cream soda. I love it. Soon the sugar melts into the background and the drydown features a soft vanilla patchouli that leans more on the herb than the pod. The vanilla is the chill gauzy vanilla of Bastet's ice cream. 

I adore patchouli and these are two great patchoulis to have in my collection. I hope they come back some day so I can pick up Sienna and perhaps some new bats will fly along too? Do you like patchouli? Or is it a "death" note for you?

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Melting Basket 125: Back to School!

Wax tarts from the last basket I would love to melt again include: TDC Garden Mint/Hippie Hippie Shake/Winter Patchouli, SMT Pink Sugar Peppermint, LSC Summer Bonfire, TBG Faded Opulence. 

Handmade in Florida- San Marcos
Handmade in Florida- Ma Cherie
Handmade in Florida- Marshmallow Delight
Handmade in Florida- Cosmic Caramel
Ten Digit Creations- He Said, She Said
Ten Digit Creations- Smoke on the Water
Ten Digit Creations- Psychedelic Dreams
Sniff My Tarts- Campfire Marshmallow
Sniff My Tarts- Marshmallow Fireside
Sniff My Tarts- Vanilla Sandalwood/Pink Sugar/Marshmallow Noel
Sniff My Tarts- Marshmallow Fireside/Blue Sugar/Marshmallow Noel
Bohemienne Life- Third Eye
Arcadian Oils- Happy Birthday

If you are curious as to how any of these perform, just let me know which ones in the comments below. 

School has started back and summer break is now a memory. I make a summertime bucket list every year so let's see how I did. 
Things we checked off:
- Dental appointments (YAY! I still have one more to schedule.)
- Aquatica trips and we even went to Typhoon Lagoon for the first time as a family.
- Savanna's Art Camp
- We hiked a state park (the photos here are from Medard State Park).
- We swam in the Weeki Wachee and Ichetucknee springs.
- A beach day at Coquina Beach and Clearwater Beach with the girls. 
- I painted with acrylics on some shoes for a friend.
- Read, quite a bit.
- Watched birds as often as I could.

Some things that I wanted to do but did not get a change to:
- A summer concert with the girls. Savanna ended up going to one with her friend. I will still try to do this soon though.
- Play in the rain. Which is strange as it rained quite a bit but I guess we never really wanted to go out in it. A shame. 
- Bake cinnamon rolls with yeast. This one I will do in the fall. 
- Finish a quilt. I started a new one for my sister and I am working on a old one when I travel but so far none are done. 
- Attend a teacher workshop. It was canceled but I am taking a Montessori Philosophy course so I think that should count. 

Even though I might not have crossed all the things off my list it was still a phenomenal summer. We saw whales and Savanna started guitar lessons. There were days of relaxing and days of adventure making. 

The new school year is bringing some exciting changes, new classes for me to teach, new technology and materials. 
The girls will have a new building at their school and they will get to be in the same class together, which they will love. 

This is going to be a good school year. 
Bring on the laughter. 
The apples.
The anticipation of fall. 

When do kids go back to school for you? How is the end of your summer going?

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Mermaid Treasure: Multichrome Mermaid

These earring were sent free from my friend Amanda at the Multichrome Mermaid.

If you have read this blog for some time you have probably come across my friend Amanda at some point. She was the blogger behind Thrifty Polished. We often collaborated on projects and supported each other's blogs. She reviewed everything from nail polish to wax, candles to clothing. Amanda has taken a blogging hiatus but still has kept her creative side. She started making jewelry and sent me these beautiful earrings. Her company is called The Multichrome Mermaid and she can be found on Facebook.  

Her pieces are fun to wear and are offered at affordable prices. I am not sure of the materials, but they are listed as silver tone. These earrings were prices at $12 plus $3.50 for shipping. They arrived in a small bubble mailer. I think some type of branded cardstock would be nice for gifting purposes. I have seen some really cute handmade earring placards in the past.

If you like crystals, shimmer, holographic colors and bold pieces you will love Amanda's offerings. 

Do you like costume jewelry? 

Monday, August 13, 2018

Paintbox Soap Works

I woke the witch. And boy does she smell incredible. Paintbox Soap Works has come my way here and there over the years. It all started with The Soap Box Company several years ago and then my friend Jean. I would get a soap sample here, a scrub sample there and always enjoyed it. But ultimately it took a craftily written review for Waking The Witch on their Facebook page that got shared in a group I am a member of and then next thing I knew I had a cart full of this scent and was happily clicking "submit." And I submitted totally. No regrets. Do yourself a favor and click here, scroll down to the reviews and read it. This lady describes the scent way more masterfully that I can, but I will still have a go at it.

Waking the Witch luxury glycerin soap ($6) is full of nourishing oils and soybean oil to condition. Here is the description for Waking the Witch on the website:

"Smoldering, sticky resins, wrinkled apples drying over the fire, tea leaves & bitter berries packed in oil, & sacred jasmine & frangipani blossoms to scatter in the flames.
Waking the Witch is a blend for the night of the soul, shapeshifting from dark sticky incense to jammy fruit & dry tea, through a cloud of heady florals & back to warm coals & woodsmoke. It's the smell of gathering revelations, of plans revealed, of lines crossed & power embraced. It's deep & wild & not here to please anyone but the stars as they whirl overhead.
We have been quiet & patient & good for a very long time. Enough of that. This blend is for all of us as we dig deep & find our voices & howl into the darkness & scrape at the sky. "

This generous six ounce bar is a deep smoky hue with a smattering of silvery and icy blue glitter. I carved a slice off and it is the most incredible fall scent that has graced my shower. Petite hand-carved wooden bowls swell with wild cranberries and black raspberries in their bellies. They await the many tincture jars that line the scarred butcher's block, along with their soon-to-be-companions of herb and spice, clove and anise and nutmeg, peppercorns and patchouli sprigs. A well loved patchwork apron hangs in on a peg, decades of sage, resin and incense burning cling delicately to the fragile threads and a handpicked wildflower bouquet is tucked inside the lone pocket. The daughter inhales the scents of homecoming.

This soap not only smells amazing but it feels great too. The base is a deep smoky brown with bronze and sable mica running through it. It lathers effortlessly and rinses cleanly. The sliver in my shower is almost gone because I have been using it so much. I have one at my tub side and two more tucked away in my cabinet.

Waking the Witch Sorbetto is a thick rich sugar scrub ($12) that contains avocado and grapeseed oils, rice bran and mango butter. The texture is thick and sticky and makes for easy scooping and scrubbing. It is along the lines of The Bathing Garden but less dry and more solid. I very much like the texture. It makes fun shapes. Helpfully, it also makes for a fabulous exfoliant. I mean, that is what we are here for right? Scrubbing, not playing? Eh. I like playing. 

Everything came professionally sealed and it is encouraged to use the product up within 3 months for optimal freshness. The scent in the scrub is just like the soap.

A little goes a long way with the bath streusel ($12). I poured about 1/8 of the jar into warm running water and it fizzed and foamed and turned the water murky with its strong blackened flower scent. Nourishing golden globes of oils floated up from the warm water to the surface, to cling to legs and arms and skin. It acted as a built in lotion so that when I emerged from the bath and toweled off, there was no need to apply any. Waking the Witch is much  more moody in this version. Much more smoky and earthen.

I also threw in a wax tart clamshell into my cart. 

Kattegat- Notes: Birch, frost, cold sea water, dragon's blood. $4
Deb, if you are reading this... you knew I had to get it. VIKINGS! This smells divine. Subtly sweet spruce and birch woods stand along the water rimmed cliffs of the fjords. Resinous dragon's blood and hearth fires in the long houses keep the scent from being overly aquatic and balance it out perfectly. Two cubes threw medium-strong in the living area and kitchen. This is a scent that I will be buying more of in the future. 

I had two generous free samples in my order, both 2.5 ounce Sorbetto sugar scrubs. 

Mandinka- Notes: Spiced honey, carnation, incense and saffron.
This is gorgeous. Not sure if it is named after Sinead O'Connor or the African people but either way it smells lovely. Supremely light smoke trailing from an incense stick joins the wild honey and Balinese spices at the temple altar. Handwoven baskets of flowers, incense and spice are left as offerings and when chanced upon them, lend their sweet fragrance to the breeze. I want to bathe in this. So I will look and see if it is offered in bath products.

Gardensong- Notes: Sun warmed herbs, tomato leaf, pimento and yuzu.
The sweet grapefruit tang of yuzu features prominently then is backed up by the subtle greenery of the herblings. A summery scent that I am going to use up in the bath right now. 

I am head over heels for my Paintbox Soap Works order. I would kick myself for not ordering sooner but now I know I have time to catch up. Can't change the past. 

Do you enjoy Paintbox Soap Works? Favorite scents? What are you favorite products?

Sunday, August 12, 2018

My Backyard Birds

I have been tracking birds I have spied in my backyard since the beginning of the year, some have photos and some I will mention that I wasn't able to grab pictures of. Here they are in no particular order.

- Mourning Dove

- Blue Jay

- Cardinal

- Yellow-Rumped Warbler (I think... I am sketchy on this one as he was so quick I never got a good look).

- Yellow-Throated Warbler

- Tufted Titmouse: One of my favorites, when this one flies to visit us Savanna hollers "Hey Mom! Your Mouse Tit bird is here!" and it cracks me out.

- Red-Bellied Woodpecker: We have two of these, I think one is the male (this one?) and one is the female (less red on the head I think).

- Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher

- American Robin

- House Finch: A male and a female used to visit the wreaths at our front door and chirped up a storm but lately he visits the bird feeder.

- Brown-Headed Cow Birds

- Indigo Bunting

- Sandhill Cranes: This family of two adults and two juveniles has been visiting us multiple times a day for bird seed, water from the bird bath and shade from the oak tree. I am tempted to name them. I like picking up the feathers they leave behind. 

I have seen Mockingbirds and white ibis, hawks and vultures in the backyard as well as:
-Boat-tailed Grackle
- Tyrant Flycatcher
- Black and White Warbler
- Yellow-Bellied Flycatcher
- Black Capped Chickadee

I think I will be able to spy even more this winter when all the birds fly back down south again. I will have my bird seed ready. What backyard birds are you favorite? Are there any of these you think I got wrong? Are you a bird watcher?

I love my birbs.